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Letter to the Governor of the State of Mississippi - Tyra G. Newcomb for the murder of John Freeze

To the Governor of the State of Mississippi

Submitted By; Vicki Roach

The undersigned respectfully and earnestly pray your excellency to pardon Tyra G. Newcomb for the murder of John Freeze of which he was convicted at the September term 1859 of the Circuit Court of Tishomingo County for the following viz: First, He bore an uninpeachable character for peace, quiet, morals and good order; up to the time of the alledged killing from infancy, and was one of the most unoffending and accommodating and kindly disposed persons imaginable. Second, His intellect or mind was always of a low grade, that is, not keen, active, and strong; but his conduct was uniformly honorable and conscientious to a remarkable degree, and from the time he received two severe licks from the hand of the deceased with a cane loaded at one side with metal six weeks or two months before the alledged killing, by which he was felled to the ground and severely ______ producing a contusion which was several months in closing up and healing; over his forehead, in an entirely unsuspecting and unprovoked manner; and the ill health ____ ensued, he became changed in mind habits and appearance and whether the faculties of his mind were so impaired at the time of the killing as to prevent him from reasoning and reflecting upon the act and its consequences; certain it is now, that he cannot comprehend the awful fate that is impending over him. The effecting scenes of his trial, with the anquish of his mother, and broken hearted appearance of his father and the distress of his friends, the rendition of the verdict; the sentence of death by the court all failed to produce sensible effect upon him. (See copies of the officers of the Jailer and Dr. Walker herewith submitted.) We have no hesitation in saying that his mind is imbecile, and that he is wholely incapable of realizing the awful condition that he is in the object of the sentence that is impending over him, now, affirmed by the High Court rendering it certain unless _____ by you, Third, Without undertaking to say that his mind was so impaired at the time of killing as to prevent his reasoning upon the consequences of his act, which however is more than probable, there is no doubt but that the deed would not have been done but for the overseeing and persistant influence of another or others which he had not the mind, the moral courage, or energy to resist repugnant as it was to his feelings as manifested by his active former life; and we have no hesitation in saying that but for such influences and the impaired condition of his mind the deed of murder would not have been done. We here quote the substance of the testimony of the prosecuting witness Brown which were excluded from the Jury on the trial viz: "While they were sitting by the waggon (witness and defendant) and just before deceased came up (the shooting almost immediately succeeding) Newcomb said that he had been told by others that if they were in his place, they would kill Freeze _____, but he Newcomb had no harm against him and would not harm a hair of his head." And lastly we state that a general if not universal opinion is entertained (excluding but few only of the relatives and friends of the deceased) that said Newcomb is not guilty of the murder of the said John Freeze in that criminal sense which calls for his execution, but that on the contrary while condemned under the law should be pardoned; and that his execution would be a painful and distressing spectable, promotive of no good results but tending rather or impair confidence in the government to discriminate between real and apparent guilt, and to relieve the one and rigorously punish the other, and we are satisfied that his impaired state of mind is such that he neither feels guilty for the deed of killing nor realizes the awful condition he is in. and that he is incapable of reasoning ____ either his guilt or innocence or fate that awaits him. His execution is generally deplored, and with unprecedented unanimity the public mind is earnestly for his pardon. January 31, 1860 (The following is a list of people who signed the letter.) (I tried to transcribe these names from their actual signatures. Many were blotted with too much ink. Many were written in all small letters. Others were almost if not completely unreadable.) S.W. Riggs B.F. Clark John Wilson H.S. Moore Silas Cook E. Caruth J. Wagner? J.T. Barnett A. Horn A. White J.J. Herndon? James W. Bonds, Deputy Clerk W. Walker, Tax Assessor and Jailor S.?G. Champion, Mayor W.D. Paden M.V.? Moore E.W. Carmack, Probate Clerk J.A.J. Harrison, Hotel Keeper H.?C. McQuilliams W.E. Tur_____ John Taylor S.?P. Reynolds W.A. Taylor Emerson Brown G.W. Monroe C.A. Taylor, President of Board of Police (is marked out) W.W. Bonds, Court Clerk Vincent Adams Lewis Short Ralph Tharp William Reid John Davis Reuben Davis Benj. Davis George Prestage? Benj. C. Rives, attorney at law John Rhodes Rich’d E. Clayton James Holloway W.J. Key William _____ J.J. Moore Andrew Cathey Lewellin Patrick W.H.H. Tison, U.S. Marshal C.H. Carter W.F. Hall A.W. Ford Albert Taylor Elias Rinehart Benj. Pitts? Wm. Rogers Josiah Whitfield R.P. Johnson L.?D. Johnson Thomas McAnally? Daniel Johnson John Hamilton J.M. Brown John Rineheart J.?A. Vance James M. Leath J.N.? Boshers John Sellars George Langford Robt. Allen Wm. Bercham John Reed Moses Carpenter Robt. Butter? William Anglin Nathan Vandiford Tho. Boshers Wm. R. Hampton J.?A. Hampton J.W. Patrick John Palmer J.T. Roggers James J. Bishop Robert Davenport, Sheriff Robert Gilmore L.F. Holt E.?Meeks W.R. Warren T.L. Wroten W.R. Warren, Jr. James Stafford Joseph Hester, Sr. B.B. Whitehurst R.A. Burns N.H. Beane? John Carraway L.L. or S.S. Brown, Deputy sheriff Philip Jones John Queen Wm. R. Green Thos. Gann Solomon Carpenter Tilmon Thrasher Wm. L. Duncan W.A. Shelton James Red? J.B. Meek? J.M.B. Conn? Mark Manuel S.D. Manuel John Manus or Manuel? B.?. Thompson F.T. Petty J.M. Redden J.?. Wilson D.C. Apperson Wm. _______ N.B. Gibbins S.F. Fergerson James Gibbins M.?C. Lindsey E.F. Gibbins Henry Collier John Taylor W.K. Thompson Levi ______ Thos. Goddard J.W. Taylor P.?M. Jinkins J.R. Weaver, farmer A.?J. Holland R.J. Moore W.F. Barber R.L.? Priest J.P.? Millican S.?Z. Martin Jackson Ward Michael Kizer B.J. Kizer F.M. Kizer T.?L. Crawley L.?H. Boyce J.H.? Blasingam James F. Blasingam John Blasingam W.J. Horn D.?W. Crouch W. Horn A. Walden A.C. _______ L.?H.? Burcham? Bryant Lee ?.?. Gentry W.R. Hill ?.M. Wilson Wm. F. Bruce J.J. Lindsey B.L.? Owen W.H.? Cuningham William Butlar John Milner or Wilner? Thomas Baldwin (signed with an X) P.?E.? Harris J.W. Clausel Elijah Blythe Samuel Whight J.P.? Veul? H. Lewtes? Jas. Young Joseph Jobe Robt. Butler Signed in open court by: C.A. Taylor, president Board Police Tishomingo County J.H. Steger, member police court 2nd district John Lindsey member police court 3rd district J.H. Barton member police court 4th district M.D. Moreland member police court 5th district Rev. James Gaines? county treasurer Tishomingo County John Brewer and Henry Davenport, deputy sheriff Moore F. Carter and C.D. Key, post master Jacinto Isaac Richardson S.W. Hughes P.L. Parchman J.F. Chany? John Richardson M.?. ______ Sam P. Ledbetter R.B. Smith John Tatch? Thos. Johnson M.L. Trimble W.B. _____ H.W. Henson Jno. D. Wells J.J. Cemp? J.R. Williams B.C. Box? James Ronan? Z.W. Kemp John Price? J. Stricklen A.L. Mam_____ J. Wilson James M. Winters G.?W. Edwards Jas. W. Swinney A.J. Price R.E. Burton G.?A. Kennedy W.F.? Hooper John Robinson H.? Robinson J.R. Wallis J. Wallis R.B. Wallis W.E.? _______ F.?H.? Kennedy J.B. Haddock Robt. Hill ?.?. Dulay? Neal F. Hendry? Oliver P. Lewellen G.W. White Robt. Lowry? W.?J.M.? Milton J.E. Lewellen J.D. Lewellen T.J. Lowry J.H.? Graham Joseph Lambert The following is a different handwriting and even more difficult to read. The last page says petition from A.B. Dilworth, Jackson, for release of Tyre G. Newcomb. Granted April 10, 18??. 15 _____ relates to T.G. Newcomb came duly and received just as I had gotten ready to start down to your city with petitions. Your letter was like oil on the troubled waters. The G?. Rep. is also received. The great interest I felt for Newcomb, and the part? you have acted in it renders me under eternal obligations of Gratitude. Bell, Surate, Boone, McCord and Akers can command me for their services. His Excellency has done that for which the people bless him; and in granting a full pardon he will receive universal approbation at the hand of our? people. I had (next few words torn away) gotten but a few signers. Was known that one was out _____ one _____ and circulated and sent in their names, until I should have carried some 1050 on the 20th all, and now the list is up to some 1500. Just at this writing a man passed by and said send down a petition on Browns Creek for signers. Men that never have signed such a petition have come in and pen their names to this. Elias Rinehart is one of such, the Jurors petition with the affidavits and the Board of Police petition make a clear case for a pardon if one can be made. In addition to this Newcomb health is failing fast and I do not think he can live long.He has a beating bout his bowels? like the heart of an ox. He is perfectly unconcerned in so much that I have not for a long time sent to him about anything. I tell you upon the honor of a gentleman that he is a perfect idiot or imbecile. Examine these petitions (rest is torn away). But what can the Judge and Dist. Atty. know more than our own citizens who see Newcomb almost daily? Judge Acker said so Col. Reynolds says that he would sign a petition for his pardon and I have no doubt of it but he has forgot it or has stuffed over my letter. We can I have no doubt get both Acker and Beene to sign as our court, and indeed they will be compelled so to do if desired or receive the general _____ of our people. Jo Lambert, the blood (torn away) Freeze authorized me to put his (torn away). One more word, Men who have been noted for uniform _____ and members of the church have suggested to me (before your letter of the 15th. I had felt dubious about the pardon and had so stated) in the event that the pardon was not granted, that it would not be hard to rescue Newcomb. What would you think of such men as B.B.L. Whitehurst making such suggestions? T.G. Newcomb can’t be hung in Tishomingo under his present sentence! The people would not permit it, nor would they shed any blood nor rescue Newcomb but they would not let the sheriff take him out for execution to a certainity. I say to save a mob Newcomb must be pardoned. Our people would let him hang if they did not believe that he had been badly treated by the deceased by which he lost his mind and is now utterly incapable of reflecting on (missing) But by the sum? knowing and thinking as I do I will is necessary at all hazzards join the band to prevent his execution peacably if it can be done, but to prevent it If the Governor will not pardon without Beene & Ackers signatures write me and I will get them. I send this now because I leave for Fulton for court _____ and I am in great hurry to get Newcomb (torn away) to see if some (torn away) be fast sinking health and (torn away) fathers can at home, if anything can (missing) down for his health it could then. In the jail be impossible. Yours with everlasting gratitute B.N. Kinyon J.G. Barton and Geo. Tankersly both circulated petitions. Barton is a candidate for sheriff and would not have circulated the petitions if unpopular. If the petitions will not do the Ladies will take the matter in hand and _____ the Mansion from his Excellency. I am requested to write a petition for the Ladies but think it unnecessary.

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